Durham College (DC) and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), share a gymnasium, a library, residence buildings and a student association. The Student Association (SA) is an association of students who represent and serve the interests of full-time students at both the college and the university.
DC was established in 1967 and had its own SA. After some time Trent University starting offering classes at DC, although DC still ran the SA until 2003 when UOIT was established it meant all three schools were under the same SA until Trent moved to its own campus in 2010 and established its own SA. But UOIT remains both on campus and as part of the SA shared with the college.
Currently, there are too many controversies in the SA causing both schools to suffer for the action of one SA. Not only is the SA is serving too many students, there are not enough DC representatives.
It is time for DC and UOIT to separate the SA and create one SA for the college and one SA for the university.
Since the last election in May, the SA has had two presidents. According to Vianney Nengue, the vice president and interim president, the elected president Reem Dabbuous sent alleged emails to the athletic department promising a new soccer field. This resulted in her disqualification as president. Another controversy is two SA members under investigation for harassment. One of the SA members involved was the replacement president, Cerise Wilson, while the other was another SA member. The investigation has left the SA with some vacant seats, including the presidential seat, leaving Nengue to take the position. The controversies solely reside with UOIT students and if there was a split, DC would no longer suffer for their actions.
The SA has not had enough representation from DC since the two associations merged in 2003. In the past 14 years, the SA has had one elected president on the executive team from DC.
DC has 2,000 more students than UOIT, which should be reflected in the SA membership. Yet only two out of six representatives are from DC.
According to Ryan LePage, a former president of the SA, the majority of votes come from UOIT students each year. With few DC students representing the two schools, DC students feel less involved and therefore not inspired to vote. If the two schools split SAs, then DC students would be able to represent their own school. This will encourage more voters to participate in the SA elections.
DC has more than 12,000 students while UOIT has more than 10,000 students. The SA is now serving a community of more than 20,000. It’s too many students for the SA to handle. Both Trent University’s Durham campus and UOIT did not have this many students back in 2003 so it made sense for them all to share one SA. UOIT and DC are separate schools serving separate communities and the SA should reflect that. Trent University in Durham has its own SA and has nearly 1,000 students, DC has 12 times that and shares an SA with UOIT.
With the controversies, the lack of DC representatives and the number of full-time students, it is clear the time has come for DC and UOIT to part ways and have their own SAs. This will help limit the number of controversies and inspire students to vote leading to a fair number of representatives to adequately hear then voice the concerns of students. It would split the population of students the SA has to serve nearly in half.
This divide is the best option. It is time to make this change.
Students should attend the SA’s next meeting in January and voice their opinion for a separation of the two SAs.
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